I love getting fresh local produce at the farmer’s market or local grocery store. The fruits and vegetable are always so beautiful, colorful, and very fragrant. It makes me feel really good that I’m eating healthy and being friendly to the environment. However, I don’t know why, but I don’t like to cook with the fresh produce. I feel guilty, as if I was tainting the pure flavors with my amateur cooking skills. I’m slowly changing my mentality, but I tend to eat a lot of my fruits and vegetables raw. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but sometimes it can get a little boring.
So, for the picnic I decided to bring crudite and dip! It’s a mix between enjoying the fresh flavors of summer and adding a little extra flavor. As usual, since I couldn’t narrow it down to just one, I made two. I made a hummus from a recipe that I had tagged in a Food and Wine magazine and a dip called Peacamole from the popular food blog, Chocolate and Zucchini.
The hummus had a few more steps than I’m usually used to, but turned out wonderful. I did make it easier on myself and used canned garbanzo beans rather than using dried beans. One day, I promise you, I will buy some dry beans and make hummus truly from scratch. I wonder if it tastes better. The Peacamole was very good. I had been eyeing that recipe for awhile and bought a jar of almond butter, which is almost empty now, months ago to make it. I didn’t get around to it until now, but I’m glad I finally did. It was sweeter and less almond-y than I expected. I really like almond butter. The texture is similar to peanut butter, but the taste is softer and less intense. I don’t think that you could substitute peanut butter for the almond butter, but if try it, let me know how it turns out. Next time I think I’ll add more cilantro because I could not taste it at all. But the Peacamole and crudite went very well together.
For the crudite I bought cucumbers, celery, and multicolored carrots. My friend Cathy helped me cut the crudite and brought those really colorful and delicious drinks to the picnic. The orange one is a carrot, apple, and celery juice and the purple one is an acai and mixed berry smoothie. She froze them beforehand, so by the time we drank them they were very cool and refreshing.
Adapted from Food and Wine
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup tahini, at room temperature
Paprika, for garnish
Set aside 2 tablespoons of the garbanzo beans and add the rest to a food processor. Puree with 1/4 cup water, half the olive oil, and 3 garlic cloves. Then add the cumin, half the tahini, and juice of 1 lemon minus 1 tablespoon. Process until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and transfer to a bowl.
Clean the food processor and add the remaining olive oil, tahini, 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and garlic clove. Process until smooth.
Before serving, make an indent in the center of the hummus and poor the tahini-lemon mixture inside. Garnish with paprika and the whole garbanzo beans set aside.
Adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 bunch cilantro
1 small clove garlic
Dash of tabasco
Salt and pepper
Steam the peas in the microwave for about 3 minutes. Let cool until warm, a little above room temperature. Puree in a food processor with almond butter, cilantro, garlic, and tabasco. Season with salt and pepper.